$200,000 grant awarded to ABCD for BASICS program

Keeping the county’s youth in the local workforce is at the top of the agenda for the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation, and thanks to a $200,00 federal grant, the Business and School Investing in Cooperative Solutions project will continue for at least another 18 months.
“We’re excited that we once again received federal funding for this important program,” said Stephen McKnight, director of government affairs for ABCD. “This money is going to help us continue to push this program along for at least another year and a half. The results so far have been wonderful and we expect them to remain that way.”
The awarding of the grant was announced last week by U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-PA, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. The two senators said the Employment and Training Administration, under the Department of Labor, will issue the grant.
“Community and economic development efforts go hand-in-hand,” said Sen. Santorum. “This funding will help foster partnerships that promote and enhance a skilled workforce by encouraging the skills necessary to meet the demands of the local economy.
“The ABCD has a long history of serving the employment training needs of Blair County and the surrounding region and I believe this training assistance and workforce development will benefit both employees and employers.”
According to BASICS’s website, www.blairbasics.com, the program is a workforce development project designed to significantly improve the match between Blair County’s business needs and educational system priorities. It will also help provide businesses with a competitive, well-trained and available workforce.
“I am pleased that the Department of Labor released these funds to the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation for its Workforce Initiative,” said Sen. Specter. “This is a win-win situation benefiting the area with more job opportunities while providing employers with a highly-trained workforce, both vital to the economic development of the region.”
BASICS is funded in part by the Federal Department of Labor, state Department of Community and Economic Development, regional businesses and school districts. The program is administered in cooperation with the Blair County Chamber of Commerce and the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation.
For more information about BASICS, or to begin a similar workforce development program in your region, contact the Blair County Chamber of Commerce at chamber@blairchamber.com or visit the www.blairchamber.com website.
According to McKnight, the grant will be used to design and carry-out programs in the junior and senior high schools of Blair County. He said the intent is to inform regional students, parents and educators of the career opportunities that exist in Blair County before making education and training decisions.